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On the Cover

November-December 2014
Volume 102, Number 6

The discovery of a living species of coelacanth, a lobe-finned fish recognized as an important transition in vertebrate evolution, was a surprising and exciting find in 1938, because the fish was already widely recognized in the fossil record. Hailed as a living fossil, even though there has never been any fossil find of the two extant species of coelacanth, it is native to waters around Indonesia and in the Indian Ocean...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Candy Crush's Puzzling Mathematics

Toby Walsh

This simple game has deceptively difficult computational problems behind it, which might be why it’s so addictive.


The Evolutionary Truth About Living Fossils *

Alexander J. Werth, William Shear

Appearances to the contrary, no species is exempt from selection, even when changes are difficult to detect in the fossil record.


Curious Chemistry Guides Hydrangea Colors

Henry Schreiber

The blooms’ varied hues trace back to both soil pH and the right additives. Could different combinations produce new tints never seen in nature?


Estrogen in Men *

Erik Wibowo, Richard Wassersug

Estradiol, the most common form of estrogen, is often called a female hormone, but men produce it too. Insight about its role comes from unusual sources.


The Statistical Crisis in Science

Andrew Gelman, Eric Loken

Data-dependent analysis—a “garden of forking paths”— explains why many statistically significant comparisons don't hold up.


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ NIGHTSTAND

Life Below the Ankles

David L. Hu

A brief review of How Snakes Work: Structure, Function and Behavior of the World’s Snakes, by Harvey B. Lillywhite

See all book reviews for this issue


DEPARTMENTS

FROM THE EDITORS

A New Editor with Digital Ambitions

Jamie L. Vernon

TECHNOLOGUE

Weighing the Kilogram

Proposals to redefine this unit of mass and a related measurement, the mole, may be overlooking a clearer, simpler solution.

Paul J. Karol

PERSPECTIVE

The Bright Side of the Black Death

The bubonic plague left its mark on the human population of Europe, showing that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Pat Shipman

ENGINEERING

Anonymous Design*

In the season of presents, take some time to think about the people who developed the stuff that fills our everyday lives.

Henry Petroski

COMPUTING SCIENCE

Clarity in Climate Modeling

Computational models are splendid tools for understanding the intricacies of climate. But can we understand the intricacies of the models?

Brian Hayes

ETHICS

Postdoc Mentorship Can Launch Careers

With high stakes for jobs in science and math, mentors must provide postdocs with a recipe for success.

Rachel Levy

2014-11EthicsLevyF1.jpgClick to Enlarge Image

SIGHTINGS

Cell by Cell, Life Appears

Thin sheets of laser light illuminate the incredibly complex process of embryonic development.

Catherine Clabby

2014-11SightingsF2.jpgClick to Enlarge Image

SPOTLIGHT

Agriculture Is Reshaping the Avian Tree of Life

Evolutionarily distinct bird lineages are more likely to go extinct in farms than forests, but diversifying crops could curb the loss.

Katie L. Burke

Search for Brown Dwarfs

An interview with astrophysicist Kevin Luhman about his life and research as a brown dwarf hunter.

Fenella Saunders

Briefings

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Science Narrative Tension

Engineering Address

Royal Society Misquoted

Neuron Art Influence

The Silent Underground


SIGMA XI TODAY (PDF)


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